3 Reds top prospects who should be trade candidates and 2 who should be off limits

The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of top-level talent in the minor leagues, but there are some prospects who should be off limits in trade talks.

Cincinnati Reds hats and baseball gloves
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When it comes to top-level talent, few farm systems in Major League Baseball can hold a candle to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds are likely to be buyers at this year's trade deadline, and while most fans want the organization to refrain from trading away some of their top-rated talent, you have to give up something of value in order to get something of value.

With the MLB trade deadline just a couple weeks away, which top prospects should be on the trade block and which players should be off limits. For the purpose of this exercise, only players ranked among the Reds Top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline will be considered.

Reds top prospect who should be trade candidate: Joe Boyle, RHP

Few pitchers in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, or the entire minor leagues for that matter, throw more gas than Joe Boyle. The Notre Dame product continually pumps out fastballs that touch 100-mph.

But oftentimes, Boyle has no idea where the ball is going. In 16 starts at Double-A Chattanooga this season, Boyle has 103 punch outs, but 61 walks as well. According to FanGraphs, that comes out to an impressive 32.5-percent strikeout-rate, but an unsustainable 20.8-percent walk-rate.

Boyle is also doing this in the Southern League, where the baseball being used have an enhanced grip. If Boyle is struggling with locating his pitches in Double-A, how will the right-hander perform once he makes the leap to Triple-A.

Joe Boyle has a terrific arm, but his future is in the bullpen. The Cincinnati Reds are continuing to run him out as a starter, knowing full well that he'll be a reliever if he makes it to The Show. Boyle is, however, the type of high-upside pitcher that rebuilding teams could be interested in at the MLB trade deadline.

Reds top prospect who should be off limits: Rece Hinds, OF

Two months ago, I would have told you that it's time to part ways with Rece Hinds. But the former second-round pick has made great strides over the past month, and because of the Cincinnati Reds lack of depth in the outfield, the organization cannot afford to part with Hinds.

Hinds has certainly had his share of struggles since being taken with the 49th-overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Hinds' power has always been his carrying tool, but too many swings and misses made it difficult to project his future.

The Reds moved Hinds off the infield dirt and into the outfield last spring in an effort to help the 22-year-old find a permanent home moving forward. The majority of Hinds' starts this season have come in right field, but he's also seen time in left field as well.

Through his first 42 games of 2023, Hinds hit just .206 and struck out 73 times while drawing just nine free passes. Since June 1st, however, Hinds is hitting .378 with only 29 strikeouts and nine walks.

Rece Hinds is currently on the seven-day IL at Double-A Chattanooga, but once he gets back on the field, the expectation will be that the slugger continues to elevate his level of play. The Cincinnati Reds will need to add Hinds to the 40-man roster this offseason in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Reds top prospect who should be trade candidate: Edwin Arroyo, SS

Not everyone is going to agree with this, and this isn't a call to just give Edwin Arroyo away. But, if the Cincinnati Reds are looking to make an impact move at this year's trade deadline, they're going to have to sacrifice one of their top prospects.

Arroyo has been with the Reds organization for less than a year, as he was one of the key acquisitions Cincinnati attained during last July's deal with the Seattle Mariners that saw Luis Castillo sent to the Emerald City.

While Arroyo's stats (.229/.294/.384) won't necessarily back it up, the shortstop does have a fantastic approach at the plate and is expected to an above-average hitter who plays elite-level defense at one of the most important positions.

However, if there's one position that the Cincinnati Reds have an abundance of, it's shortstop. The Reds have already promoted Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain to the big leagues and are having difficulties finding ways to get the rookie duo into the lineup on a regular basis along with Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, and Joey Votto.

The Reds also have two infield prospects (Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarnacion-Strand) knocking on the major league door while waiting patiently at Triple-A Louisville.

Again, if Edwin Arroyo were to be considered in a potential trade, such a deal would need to secure a starting pitcher who's more than just a two-month rental, or a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Reds top prospect who should be off limits: Chase Petty, RHP

It would seem to go without saying that if there's an area of the farm system that needs to go untouched with the trade deadline approaching, it's pitching. The Cincinnati Reds have seen their starting rotation depth tested early and often this season.

While pitchers like Andrew Abbott, Brandon Williamson, and Levi Stoudt have all made their major league debuts this season, the Reds continue to see holes in their starting rotation and the relief corps.

Connor Phillips, Julian Aguiar, and Lyon Richardson have received a ton of publicity this season, but one pitching prospect who seems to hav surprisingly flown under the radar is former Minnesota Twins farmhand Chase Petty.

Petty was acquired from the Twins last spring when the Reds made the decision to trade Sonny Gray to Minnesota. That deal appears to have worked out well for both organizations, as Gray made another All-Star appearance this season, and Petty has excelled in the minor leagues this season.

Chase Petty, unlike many young hurlers, has learned how to do more than just throw the ball at 95-plus mph. According to FanGraphs, Petty owns 28.3-percent strikeout-rate, 6.3-percent walk-rate, 55.2-percent ground ball-rate, and 1.53 ERA. Petty hasn't allowed a ball to leave the yard through nine starts this season.

While Reds fans are eager to "get the pitching" at this year's trade deadline, a young prospect like Chase Petty will provide said pitching. The Cincinnati faithful will just have to be a little patient. Petty should not be on the trade block this summer.

Reds top prospect who should be trade candidate: Sal Stewart, 3B

This selection, just like Edwin Arroyo, is likely to draw a lot of negative comments from the Cincinnati Reds fanbase. As was mentioned earlier with Arroyo, the only way Cincinnati should part ways with Sal Stewart is if it nets them a longer-term solution in the starting rotation or the outfield.

Stewart was selected with the Reds Competitive Balance pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, so the 19-year-old has barely spent a year within the organization. But despite his short stint in the Reds farm system, Stewart has already made an impact with his bat.

Stewart is hitting .271/.390/.416 at Low-A Daytona and has more walks than strikeouts. Stewart is a bat-first prospect who has plenty of raw power. The right-hander hitter has eight round trippers for the Daytona Tortugas this season.

However, Stewart is extremely limited defensively. While last year's No. 32 overall pick has enough arm strength to hold down the hot corner, he lack the speed and athletic ability you'd like to see from your third baseman.

Sal Stewart has seen the majority of his Low-A starts as the Tortugas third baseman (36), but has had plenty of starts as the team's designated hitter (26) as well. Stewart's longterm future may be at first base.

If the Cincinnati Reds want to add impact players at this year's trade deadline, it's likely going to require parting ways with some of the organization's top prospects. Some lower-level prospects may be on the trade block as well, but the acquisition may not be as effective.

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